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Why Were Workers Whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model

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  • Chwe, Michael Suk-Young
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    Abstract

    One reason a person hurts another is to get that person to do something. This paper uses a model to show that threatening pain can be rational and that pain is inflicted upon people who are poor in the sense of having bad alternatives. The model corrects a confusion in previous models of slavery; gives an explanation of why child, and not adult, laborers were beaten during the industrial revolution; and prompts a discussion of the dangers of rational-choice modeling. Copyright 1990 by Royal Economic Society.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 100 (1990)
    Issue (Month): 403 (December)
    Pages: 1109-21

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    Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:100:y:1990:i:403:p:1109-21

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    Cited by:
    1. Olivella, P. & Aron, D.J., 1991. "Bonuses and Penalties as Equilibrium Incentive Devices, with Application to Manufacturing Systems," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 153.91, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    2. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao, 2002. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
    3. Jonathan Conning, 2004. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom and the Roads to Agrarian Capitalism: Domar's Hypothesis Revisited," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 401, Hunter College: Department of Economics.

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